15 monuments back to glory, courtesy Aga Khan Trust

Last Updated : 20 February 2018, 18:17 IST
Last Updated : 20 February 2018, 18:17 IST

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As many as  15 monuments dating back to 16th century nearby the majestic Humayun Tomb are now back to their splendour here in Nizamuddin area.

Along with this, a nursery spread in a 90-acre area, which houses these monuments, has also been transformed into a magnificent heritage city park.

The heritage park offers a unique blend of nature, culture and ecology.

Thanks to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), under which the monument restoration and city park development, work has been done in line with the those created by it in Kabul, Cairo, Mali and Zanzibar.  

The Sunder Nursery, as the site was named with its establishment in the early 20th century to serve as a plant nursery for the British, will now serve as Delhi's first of its kind arboretum and micro-habitat zone with almost 300 tree species, many of whom are rare.

It took more than 10 years to bring the area back to its glory with a unique ensemble of 16th-century garden tombs.

Of the 15 monuments conserved in the 90-acre area, six carries Unesco's world heritage site.

The AKTC commenced the conservation and landscape work  at the Sunder Nursery after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Central Public Works Department, the Archaeological Survey of India and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2007.

The grand 550-metre-long central vista of the nursery now has a water garden with monolithic lotus fountains and flower beds bound by sandstone flower beds - reminiscent of Mughal landscapes of the 16th century - to attract nature lovers and children.

Two amphitheatres - one at the central vista and another in the zone marked for a botanical garden - have also been developed inside the nursery for organising cultural events.

A specially built facility allows the display of  the nursery's bonsai collection of over 400 plants.

"No such public park is available in Delhi. A large maidan (open area) is also available for winter picnics. Trees and shrubs that we have planted here are already attracting 80 species of birds. 60 species of butterflies have already made the park their home," chief  executive officer (CEO) of AKTC Ratish Nanda said.

The heritage city park will be opened for public from Thursday after its inauguration by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in presence of Aga Khan on Wednesday.

The central vista connects the entrance zone of the Humayun's Tomb  to the 16th century Azimganj Serai to the north, through the nursery.

The lake at the northern edge of the central vista will be a refuge for the Dehlites with walks, seating and pavilions along the edges.

Built at the lowest point of the nursery, the lake will collect rainwater and also serve as a reservoir for irrigation.

The nursery, established north of the Humayun's Tomb and alongside the Mughal-era Grand Trunk Road, is surrounded by various other historical sites in the area like Purana Qila and touches the boundary of the National Zoological Park which is spread across 176-acre area with full of flora and fauna.

"It (the nursery) would almost look like the Central Park of the New York city if an underground pedestrian path is built to connect this (Sunder Nursery) with other sides," Luis Monreal, one of the top AKTC functionaries and an eminent conservation specialist, suggested.

Published 20 February 2018, 15:18 IST

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